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New look 2021 Kawasaki ZX-10R and ZX-10RR

Kawasaki’s rivals in WSBK might be a little disappointed to hear that the firm that’s dominated the series for the last six seasons is about to unleash an improved version of its challenger for 2021.

Although the 2021 ZX-10R and ZX-10RR won’t be officially unveiled until 23 November, leaked images have emerged showing both models in production-ready form. Unsurprisingly, Kawasaki hasn’t thrown out all that’s good on the existing models, carrying over the same bones of the frame and suspension, but there’s a completely new look and changes to the engine to make it meet Euro 5 emissions limits.

When it comes to the styling, next year’s ZX-10R and ZX-10RR are far more aggressive-looking than the current model. The new front end features a mandible-like ait intake between a pair of reverse-raked LED headlights, and moving back the fairing’s sides have bold flat surfaces punctuated with sharp creases, giving a look that could never be called pretty but has the sort of purposeful ugliness of the F-117 Stealth Fighter.

Although the fuel tank appears to be the same as the current version, the seat unit is restyled with new tail lights and further creases and flat surfaces.

We can also see a new exhaust end can, reflecting the internal changes needed to meet the latest European emissions limits, while leaked information accompanying the pictures tells us that while peak power hasn’t changed – with the base ZX-10R making 149.3kW and the ZX-10RR hitting 150kW – the shape of those peaks have changed. Where the old models both hit their peaks at 13,500rpm, in 2021 the ZX-10R reaches its maximum at a lower 13,200rpm, hinting at a fatter midrange, while the ZX-10RR needs 14,000rpm, suggesting it’s been tweaked to make it more tuneable at the top end, which bodes well for the racing version.

Surprisingly neither the ZX-10R nor the race-oriented ZX-10RR features winglets on the fairing – showing that the firm believes it doesn’t need to resort to such aero trickery to retain its WSBK edge.